PRESENTER: Martha Lester Harris, Founder and CEO of Fizika Group, LLC.
Martha Lester Harris became an entrepreneur when her then eight year old daughter was diagnosed with learning difficulties. Martha was serving as COO of Pennsylvania’s
Workforce Investment Board – developing a strategic plan for how the process of helping people find jobs (employment and training) could be linked to the process of helping companies create jobs (economic development). Pennsylvania’s five year plan for workforce investment was approved by the US Department of Labor, one of the first in the country to be so approved, and Martha had to make a critical decision – one many working women face. Should she continue in her public service career, helping other states learn how to connect the disparate worlds of economic and workforce development, or resign her Cabinet level position to become an entrepreneur to support her daughter’s educational needs. Fizika was born of out her decision – to balance the demands of work and raising a family – without sacrificing the educational needs of her daughter. Kathryn Harris graduated from Alvernia University in 2015 with a B.A. in Communications. She is employed as a Digital Media Specialist for Fizika Group, a professional development firm that helps teachers adopt new methods of instruction that apply brain-based research and creative play to improve student engagement in learning.
In this interactive session you will learn how important the choices we make are to our professional and personal lives. You will hear about Martha and Kathryn’s life story – and how they have overcome adversity to create a company whose vision is to help all people learn more effectively.
MORE ON Martha…
Martha earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Beginning her career in broadcast journalism, she covered the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. She joined the Thornburgh Administration in 1981 and moved to Washington DC to serve as Press Secretary to the late US Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania in 1983. She earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1987 where she focused on innovative strategies for economic, workforce and international trade development to help Pennsylvania’s declining industrial areas. In 1988 she moved to Pittsburgh to serve as Director of Economic Development for the Pittsburgh High Technology Council, and Managing Director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center. In 1995, Governor Ridge tapped Martha to serve as Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. In that capacity, she led the creation of Pennsylvania’s workforce investment system. In 2000, she resigned her Cabinet post to become an entrepreneur and support her daughter’s special educational needs. She started two companies in Lancaster, before founding Fizika Group, LLC in 2009. Fizika’s mission is to offer educators and parents proven techniques and tools to engage learners through physical movement and creative play, in order to seed a lifetime of learning through healthy habits.
In 2005 Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell named Martha a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, for meritorious service to the Commonwealth and her leadership in moving Pennsylvania forward into the new economy.
Martha has shared her passion for the transformational role that women play in our economy, in education and in our communities – to national and international audiences. The ISM conference will be the first time that she has shared her personal journey – and the lessons learned along the course of her multi-faceted career as a public servant, entrepreneur, non profit executive and most importantly, as a wife, mother and grandmother of four active and talented grandchildren.
For more information on Martha, please visit her company’s website, http://www.fizikagroup.com. Both Martha and Kathryn will be available during the conference at Fizika’s booth. Register for the conference today at https://www.ismnj.org/secure/members_login/.